erie canal

Gary David Gold

New York’s Erie Canal is celebrating its 200th birthday. To mark the occasion, the Albany Symphony Orchestra is holding performances from the canal’s historic beginning in Albany to Lockport in Niagara County. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more on the series of events that kicks off this Sunday called “Water Music New York.”

Water Music New York

Jun 28, 2017

Water Music NY is a cross-regional celebration of the bicentennial of New York’s Erie Canal, developed and presented by the Albany Symphony in collaboration with the New York State Canal Corporation. 

The Albany Symphony will embark on a week-long barge journey on the Erie Canal from July 2 to July 8, performing free concerts in seven canal communities along the way. The Symphony will collaborate with local art groups to debut seven original world premieres by emerging composers, as it stops in Albany, Schenectady, Amsterdam, Little Falls, Baldwinsville, Brockport and Lockport.

Each concert will be conducted by Grammy Award Winning Conductor and ASO Music Director David Alan Miller, who joins us this morning. Also joining us, Director of the NY State Canal Corp. - Brian Stratton.

Some lawmakers and officials are irritated a Rochester brewery receiving state economic development funding has purchased beer fermentation tanks from China that could have been produced in New York.

The first of a dozen massive fermentation tanks destined for a Rochester brewery has started its westward journey aboard a barge on the Erie Canal.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in Waterford at the Erie Canal, May 2017
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

This morning, the New York State Canal Corporation began celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal's groundbreaking. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul officially opened the canal's 2017 season.

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The New York State Barge Canal has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

  The technological marvel of its age, The Erie Canal, grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn’t just dream – they built a 360 mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness.

Jack Kelly tells the story in his book, Heaven’s Ditch

The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn't just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history.

The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face to face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity.

The new book: Heaven's Ditch by Historian Jack Kelly illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this "psychic highway" from its opening in 1825 through 1844. 

Jack Kelly will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck July 14, at the Schenectady Canal Festival at Mabee Farm Historic Site July 16, and at Northshire Books in Saratoga July 17.